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Villarreal loses again, drops to sixth in Spanish league

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MADRID (AP) Villarreal followed its surprise loss to last-place Malaga by falling at home to Athletic Bilbao 3-1 on Monday, dropping to sixth place in the Spanish league.

The new setback leaves Villarreal in danger of missing out on a Europa League spot next season, as only the teams in fifth, sixth, and seventh places qualify.

It was the first win in four matches in all competitions for Athletic, which stayed 12th in the league.

Inigo Cordoba put the visitors ahead less than five minutes in, and Inaki Williams doubled the lead early in the second half. Carlos Bacca halved the deficit in the 67th, but Iker Muniain sealed Athletic’s victory in the final minutes at Ceramica Stadium.

“We conceded too early,” Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo said. “They pressured us and created many chances.”

Villarreal’s Alvaro Gonzalez was sent off with a second yellow card shortly after Athletic’s third goal.

Villarreal midfielder Pablo Fornals passed out a few minutes into the match, collapsing to the ground and prompting doctors to rush to his assistance. Fornals had to be substituted, but left the field on his own.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Chinese Super League kicks off season Friday; Bakambu sets record

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At 6:35 a.m. ET Friday, the Chinese Super League will kick off its 15th season.

One team got a big signing over the line just in time. Beijing Guoan has signed Villarreal striker Cedric Bakambu for an African transfer record of $90 million.

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Bakambu joins last season’s ninth place CSL team, bringing 67 goals from his previous four seasons. That includes 12 in 17 for Villarreal this season.

Guangzhou Evergrande won last season’s title by six points over Shanghai SiPG, with Tianjin Quanjian 10 points back of the champs.

What else is new in 2018?

— Dalian Yifang and Beijing Renhe were promoted from China League One, while Yanbian Funde and Liaoning FC were relegated.

Italian manager Fabio Cannavaro left last season’s third place finishers, Tianjin Quanjian, for the reigning champs Guangzhou Evergrande. He takes the place of Luiz Felipe Scolari. Ex-Fiorentina and Basel boss Paulo Sousa takes his place.

— Who are the marquee foreign addition?

  • Hebei China Fortune signed Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) and Hernanes.
  • Dalian Yifang added three: Jose Fonte, Yannick Carrasco, Nicolas Gaitan.
  • Beijing Guoan added Bakambu.
  • Jiangsu Suning signed Gabriel Palotta of Milan, Richmond Boakye.
  • Changchun Yatai signed Danish playmaker Lasse Vibe.
  • Guizhou Hengfeng brings Nikica Jelavic from Beijing Renhe
  • Beijing Renhe signed Augusto Fernandez from Atletico Madrid.
  • Tianjin Teda added Frank Acheampong from Anderlecht

— Who’s still there?

  • Odion Ighalo is at Changchun Yatai
  • Eran Zahavi plays for Guangzhou R&F
  • Renato Augusto and Jonathan Soriano play for Beijing Guoan, with Roger Schmidt the manager.
  • Gervinho and Ezequiel Lavezzi are with Hebei China Fortune, managed by Manuel Pellegrini.
  • Ricardo Vaz Te and Juan Cala play for Henan Jianye
  • Ramires is still with Jiangsu Suning, playing for Fabio Capello.
  • Papiss Cisse and Graziano Pelle play for Shandong Taishan
  • Fredy Guarin and Obafemi Martins suit up with Shanghai Shenhua
  • Hulk and Oscar play for Shanghai SiPG.
  • Axel Witsel, Alexandre Pato, and Anthony Modeste signed with Tianjin Quanjian
  • John Obi Mikel plays for Tianjin Teda.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Villarreal opens probe into Semedo’s reported arrest

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MADRID (AP) Spanish club Villarreal says it is investigating the actions of defender Ruben Semedo after reports that he was arrested for a violent incident.

The club said it is “highly concerned” about the issue and “will take the appropriate disciplinary actions with utmost rigor based on the seriousness of the events.”

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The statement was released after Spanish media reported that the Portuguese player was taken into custody early Tuesday for allegedly being involved in a hostile confrontation with another man last week.

Police did not immediately confirm Semedo’s arrest.

Report: Villarreal defender Semedo arrested on charges of alleged assault, kidnapping

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For the third time in the past four months, Ruben Semedo has found himself in trouble with the law.

According to a report from Spain, the Villarreal centerback was arrested Tuesday morning at his home on charges of assault, kidnapping and robbery. A complaint filed to the police by a victim alleges that Semedo and two others tied the victim up and locked the victim in a room in Semedo’s home.

Semedo and the others then allegedly took the victim’s keys and went to the victim’s house, where they allegedly stole money and/or other valuable items.

[READ: Wigan shock Man City in FA Cup]

Villarreal has yet to respond to the latest incident off the field, which has marred Semedo’s season and the club’s reputation. Semedo has only played four times this year as he’s currently recovering from a right leg injury, and he’s been sidelined with a variety of injuries since joining from Sporting Lisbon for around $17.3 million last summer.

This is Semedo’s third time in trouble with the law. Last October, after a long night of partying, Semedo allegedly smashed a bottle over someone’s head. In November, in the early hours of the morning following an all-night session at a night club, Semedo pointed a gun at a member of the night club’s security staff after an argument earlier in the evening forced Semedo to leave.

For the latter crime, the local prosecutor is pushing for two years in prison. If the current allegations can be proven true, Semedo could face even more time behind bars.

As of right now, it seems incredibly unlikely that Semedo could feature for Portugal in the World Cup, as he’ll have more important matters to deal with.